Internet Addresses and Other Confusing Stuff, Part I|
October 4, 2005
Section Index Link
Over the last ten years or more I've been
teaching people how to use the Internet more productively. During my classes
and tutoring sessions one of the most common errors people make is to
confuse an email address with a web site address.
This article addresses email and web site
addresses and a few other things.
Let's start with the easy one first.
The email address.
All email addresses include the "@" sign
which is usually spoken as the 'at-sign' or 'at symbol' or, simply, 'at'.
Read more about @ at this Wiki location:
Let's use my email address as an example.
Sayers@aicommand.com Using spoken
English my email address is "Sayers at aicommand dot com" << This
won't work on-line. Why not?
Everything on the left side of the @ sign
is called the local-part. Everything to the right is called the domain-part.
Usually, but not always, the word or characters to the left of the @ are the
user's account name on the service they pay for monthly. The domain-part is
usually the Internet Service Provider from whom the user gets internet
access. Other more familiar examples of domains are: AOL.com, PeoplePC.com
In my case, I own the domain aicommand.com
so my email address is 'at' my domain.
The local-part is the person's email name.
NOTE: All of these examples are so you get the
idea. They may or may not work as real addresses.
The Web Site Address
A website address is an address which will cause the web browser to display the information from the web site
associated with the address and the location of the document requested.
A web site address can be entered into a web browser in a few different
ways: by typing it in; by using the COPY and PASTE command; by clicking on
the blue, underlined link in a
web page or email message.
Website addresses are more
complicated than email addresses because the website address can include
separated areas--called directories or folders--on the computer where the
domain is located which are indicated by the presence of the "/" character
as a separator within the address.
The name of a web site address is
technically referred to as a Uniform Resource Locator and is abbreviated as
URL. Read more here:
Explained in the simplest of terms, a URL
is the domain where a digital document is located plus all of the
information necessary to unambiguously locate the desired document plus
the file type of the document.
I'll use one of the most popular articles
from my website as an example.
A few years ago, I wrote and article about
the untimely parachute-related death of Philadelphia weatherman and TV
personality Jim O'Brien. The article is here:
Now, let's dissect the URL for
The "http://" portion tells a computer to
use a type of programming language known as a protocol, in this case "HyperText
Transfer Protocol", to access the Internet.
The next portion, "aicommand.com" is the
domain at which the document can be found.
How your computer uses a domain name and a
URL to do all of what I'm describing is food for another article. Don't
worry about it: It's complicated! If you want to know, send an email asking
and I'll write it up and post to my site.
The last portion, "/Obrien121704" is the
name of the document. "Obrien121704" is the name I created which includes
the month, day and year simply because that's what I wanted to call it.
I could have called it "anything", "JimsDeath",
or "HowJimObrienDied". The naming was totally my choice.
The "/" is a separator to divide the
domain from other portions of the URL.
The very last portion, ".htm" which
indicates the "programming language" or document type. In this case, I wrote
the article using a language called Hyper Text Markup Language. There are
dozens of possible file types to describe the document portion of the URL.
Here are a few more URLs as examples:
Weather for Newport, NJ:
Here's a final one to an article on the U.
S. Government's White House web site dealing with the president's recent
supreme court appointment:
Taking particular notice of the "/"
separator, you can parse, or break down, the URL into:
Protocol used: http:// The
computer will use Hyper Text Transfer Protocol to move the document you want
from its source, as designated in the URL; and into your computer and
displayed by your browser.
Domain address portion:
Clicking here takes you to the White House home page.
Sub-directories within the domain:
/news/releases/2005/10/20051004-1.html which isn't difficult to
The White House has a section of their
website called "news"; and within that a section called "releases"; and within
that a year, "2005"; a month, "10"; and "20051004-1"
which is the actual document name.
The "html" portion is the
language or document type. There are dozens of possible file types to
describe the document portion of the URL.
An email address MUST have @ or
it is not an email address.
A website address will NEVER have @
Author's Comment: If you found this
article interesting, informative or confusing please let me know. I need
help learning about the 'depth' of explanation my readers want in the
articles that I write.
You can reach me using my Email address.
Can you find it and send mail to me? Give it a try.